Like many people, you have most likely set your goals for the New Year and mapped out all the things you want to achieve.
Most of us get to this point but grind to a halt when it comes to execution.
There seems to be an invisible force stopping you from having a productive day.
Deep down you know you should be working on your goals but you end up chatting on Facebook or surfing the internet for hours in the name of “research”.
No matter how you dress it up, these are all forms of resistance.
It happens to everyone but if you want 2015 to be better than last year, you have to look at how you are currently using your time and make some changes so you can have a more productive day – every day.
I’ve struggled with my productivity ever since my university days.
Although I was able to wing it back then and get a good degree with the minimum amount of work, this strategy was no use in my career.
I had to train myself to get things done, especially if it was something I didn’t enjoy – things like monthly reports, employee development plans and accounts.
Even though it was painful at the time, it turned out to be great preparation for my own business.
Because setting up an online business is not always a bed of roses. In the early days you will have to do things you don’t enjoy or aren’t particularly good at until you can outsource them.
Based on my experience, here are 5 simple but effective ways to help you have a more productive day.
5 Keys To A Productive Day
1. Have A Good Morning Routine
The way you start your day is critical.
Start strongly and you will get things done. But start off on the wrong foot and you could find that your day runs away from you.
Before you know it, it’s the afternoon and you haven’t tackled a single task on your to-do list!
That’s why it’s important to have a good morning routine. Your morning rituals set you up for the day and determine how it will go.
My morning routine has the following key elements:
Before I do anything else I spend 15-20 minutes every morning in silent meditation. I don’t chant or do anything fancy. For me this is an opportunity to go within, follow my breath and clear my mind.
Meditation helps me gain clarity, feel more positive and tap into my creativity.
Because I’m vibrating at a higher frequency, I also find the quality of my day, my work and the people I come in contact with is that much better.
Try it for yourself, I’m sure you’ll see a difference.
You are not meant to sit down all day. Your body is designed to move just like every other creature on the planet.
When you exercise, your body is flooded with feel-good endorphins and your energy levels skyrocket.
You instantly feel happier, you think more clearly and most importantly – you get things done.
That’s why I make sure I do a short workout every day before I start my work, usually a combination of kettlebell swings, sit ups and stretches.
This gets my blood pumping, keeps me in shape and helps me beat any resistance to starting.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day for a reason. Your body hasn’t eaten anything for at least 10 hours and needs to be refuelled.
By recharging the brain and body, you’ll be more efficient in everything you do.
So no matter how busy I am, I always make time for a nutritious breakfast. Because it gives me energy and helps me perform at my best.
For me this means a green smoothie made with a dozen vegetables, fruits and superfoods. You don’t have to go to this extent, but I recommend you choose your breakfast carefully – garbage in, garbage out as they say.
2. Plan The Night Before
After finishing your morning routine, you are ready to make a start on your daily tasks.
One strategy that helps me have a more productive day is to plan my day the night before. I learned this simple hack from motivational speaker Jack Canfield and it really works!
When you schedule your tasks the night before you stop being so reactive. You are less likely to get sucked into other people’s dramas or a million other distractions.
As a result you are more active and focused.
And best of all, you get things done.
Another interesting reason why planning the night before is so effective is that your subconscious mind will go to work on your plan while you sleep.
This might sound a bit weird but this is the same power that helps you recall someone’s name out of the blue or remember where you put your keys when you misplace them.
It’s your higher intelligence and will serve you if you let it.
So every evening before I go to bed, I list the 3 top things I want to accomplish the next day.
It always amazes me how much more productive I am when I do this compared with days when I don’t. The difference is huge.
I usually achieve about 80-100% of my tasks instead of wasting time and wandering aimlessly around the house, feeling guilty about not doing the things I know I should be doing.
3. Focus, Focus, Focus
We all know that the key to getting things done is to focus on the task at hand.
But for most of us this is easier said than done.
According to Brian Tracy, distractions cost you time and energy.
Every time you break off to do something else the time to finish your initial task increases by as much as 10 times!
This means that for you to have a productive day you need to manage your distractions.
If you are easily distracted, have a short attention span or trouble concentrating why not use a free online app like FocusBooster.
This nifty little app is based on the Pomodoro Technique and works a treat.
Just download the correct version (Mac or PC) to your computer and set it for 25-minute intervals.
Work while the timer runs and then stop for 5 minutes when it goes into break mode. Resume when it starts up again.
I’ve recently started using this and am very impressed by the impact this simple tool has had on my productivity.
It’s subtle but effective.
If I feel like switching to something else, I have to stop the timer. This makes me less likely to get distracted because I have to consciously stop the clock.
Download it and let me know your thoughts!
4. Take Regular Breaks
This tip follows on from the one above.
You can’t perform at your peak all the time, no matter how hard you try.
You aren’t a machine and you will burnout unless you recharge.
You must rest when your energy levels drop.
Taking regular 5-minute breaks throughout the working day will help you have a more productive day.
It’s also wise to have a longer break at midday and do something completely different such as exercising, meditating going for a walk or Winston Churchill’s favorite, having a nap.
5. Maximize Your Downtime
It’s a good idea to do your most important tasks, the ones that are income generating or require your creativity and full concentration at the beginning of the day.
This is when most people are at their freshest.
If you are a morning person like me, scheduling these activities earlier in the day will help you be more productive.
But some activities are less demanding or low priority.
Things like webinar replays, podcasts, audio books or personal development courses don’t require your full concentration.
Maximize your downtime and feed your mind at the same time by doing these activities during your midday walk or exercise session.
These are just a few ways to have a more productive day. They work for me and I’m sure they will help you overcome any resistance and get things done.
Over To You
How do you stay on track and ensure you have a productive day? Please comment below.